IMAGINARY FRIEND: Review by The Horror Hypothesis
When I heard that Stephen Chbosky was moving into the horror genre nearly 20 years after gracing the world with the flawless coming of age novel, THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER, I was thrilled. I absolutely love when writers branch out and explore different genres and I had a strong feeling that Chbosky’s foray into horror would be successful due to the literary chops he flashed throughout TPOBAW. However, I am sad to say that at the end of this novel I was left feeling heavy disappointment. The first 200 pages set up a very intriguing and objectively creepy story and the majority of its characters are well written and fleshed out. There are definitely some sequences that work really well. Then, around the halfway point, things fall apart. Its bloated length is definitely a problem. I am confident that an editor could remove 250 pages of this book and it wouldn’t damage the story at all. There is an absurd amount of repetition that comes across as padding and does not serve the story in a way that worked for me. I don’t want to get into plot specifics, but I also really, really did not like the “twist” of this book. This novel morphs into something generic by its end and I turned the final page feeling like I had wasted my time - a definite bummer considering my love for THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER. Some readers will find things to enjoy in IMAGINARY FRIEND. I was not one of them.
The Horror Hypothesis - Night Worms Bio Donnie Hypothesis is an avid reader, writer, and collector of horror fiction. He runs the Bookstagram page, “The Horror Hypothesis,” which advocates for the Horror literature genre as a whole. He currently lives in Central Virginia where he spends most of his free time reading, making music, playing video games, and watching movies.
Imaginary Friend is a first-hand look into the innocence and terrors only seen through a child’s eyes. Reading this book was a surreal experience, Stephen Chbosky is an extraordinary storyteller.
When I started reading this book I immediately thought of The Odyssey. 80’s kids know what’s up! The Odyssey is this show about a kid that goes into a coma following an accident. Essentially, its a look into the child’s mind and his journey to return home through a magical imaginary world. Imaginary Friend is a lot like that only a lot less magical and much, much more horrifying. I remember reading and being completely mystified by the story and then things took a turn about a quarter of the way through. That’s when some scary undertones started showing through. It reminded me of Pet Sematary and Poltergeist in some ways. Honestly, this book was mesmerizing. The storytelling ability of Stephen Chbosky is spectacular. I absolutely loved the characters here as well. It was emotional reading along as they developed with the story. There is one thing about the book that I thought was unnecessary and it’s my opinion that it ruined the creativity and uniqueness of the book, the religious aspect introduced near the end. That aside, the book is nostalgic, emotional, and spooky as hell!